Snider: Can John Wall Scale NBA Heights?

By Rick Snider

The Washington Wizards are finally spending big money. But will it get even bigger results?

John Wall signed a $170 million extension on Saturday that keeps him in Washington through 2024. Along with guards Bradley Beal and Otto Porter, the Redskins have a trio that can match most top teams.

But the Wiz are now salary cap poor and still need a big man and more bench help to improve over last year’s second-round postseason ouster. With an offseason talent drain from the Eastern Conference to the Western, Washington has a chance in coming seasons to reach their first NBA Final since 1979 after winning the year before.

Thoughts that the Wiz can attract another top player in the new NBA system of free agents shopping for a championship ring is still long, though. Washington needs to upgrade over Marcin Gortat to get past Cleveland and Boston in the East. Maybe that player comes in next year’s draft. For now, Washington’s fortunes stand with their big three.

Washington had no choice but to offer Wall a supermax four-year contract that begins after his current two-year deal finishes. Wall is the best Wiz player since the franchise’s 1970s heydays. Better than Gilbert Arenas or any other mercenary that passed through town. His 18.8 points and 9.2 assists per game are a few less than his overall worth. Wall carries the Wiz. Without the 2010 first overall selection, they’re lost once more.

But is Wall enough? No, but even Wes Unseld needed Elvin Hayes and a deep roster to win the 1979 crown. Wall’s contract extension means he’ll be around in a couple years when maybe the Wiz can draft a needed frontcourt player that turns a solid trio into a true championship contender.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Gerry Miller says:

    “Washington needs to upgrade over Marcin Gortat to get past Cleveland and Boston in the East.”
    I think that the combination of Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi at center will be better than:
    Cleveland – Tristan Thompson and Edy Tavares
    Golden State – Zaza Pachulia and Damian Jones
    Plus Markieff Morris is a fine big (6’10, 245 lb) PF who is still improving and under a friendly contract for 2 more seasons. So there is no need to make it sound like the Wizards are 3 players or John Wall is on his own. Wall has enough talent around him needed to win the NBA East – He just has to show that he can shoot well enough to clearly be the best PG in the NBA East (better than Kyle, Isaiah and Kyrie).

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